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Yankees’ Owner Says Team Could Thrive Under MLB Salary Cap

MLB has long stood out among other professional sports leagues for its lack of a hard salary cap. But should that structure ever change, the owner of the game’s most recognizable franchise does not view a potential cap as a hindrance to competitive viability.

At MLB’s quarterly owners meetings in New York on Tuesday, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner told reporters that he thinks his club could thrive if the league ever adopted a hard salary cap, although he offered some caveats about how critical the framework of such a structure would be.

“Yes,” Steinbrenner when asked if the typically big-spending Yankees could still operate as usual under a salary cap system, per The Athletic‘s Evan Drellich. “But it depends what the cap is. … And it has to be, again, accompanied by a floor, so every club is doing their job to try to make it to the playoffs, for their fans’ sake.”

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The idea of a potential salary cap is not new. In labor talks between owners and players over the years, players have long been firmly against a hard cap that would limit teams’ spending. Steinbrenner did not advocate for MLB to adopt a cap, but he was adamant that any such move would have to be accompanied by a salary floor.

“I’m not necessarily against—depending on what it is, of course—a salary cap,” Steinbrenner said. “But there has to be a floor to address just the problems that I was talking to you about just now. I think the two have to coexist.”

If MLB’s owners pursue a salary cap when the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2026 season, it could lead to a work stoppage. That threat ultimately could convince owners to back down from such a move when the time comes.

Steinbrenner addressed the idea of a salary cap within the context of addressing the wide gap in how teams currently spend on building their rosters.

“I understand some markets struggle more than others. I live in Tampa. So I know what the Rays go through, I live there,” Steinbrenner said. “What really gets me going in a negative way is owners that aren’t putting money into the team when they could. And that’s happened in the past, and probably happens every year to a certain extent.”

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